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written by | August 23, 2022

How to Track Transactions Using the Acquirer Reference Number?

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How often have you come across this acronym of ARN, which stands for Acquirer Reference Number? Did you consider its importance at that time when it appeared to you? Well, whatever your answers may be, this blog will have your curiosity covered.

ARN is a unique reference number generated with every online debit or credit card transaction. It is a number that banks give to every account holder, and this reference number differentiates all other accounts linked to the same account holder. The ARN code is an 11-digit reference number.

The ARN needs to be entered into the gateway settings for authorisation purposes, and this is the only way through which you can track your transactions. While ARN might benefit most traders and banks, its use also becomes crucial for the customers involved in the transaction.

Now, in this article, let's walk you through the detailed part of the ARN concept and how it works in tracking transactions online.

Also read: What is an Accounting Transaction? Example & Types of Accounting Transaction 

Did you know? ARN has another name called Trace ID, which is used to trace the funds of a transaction at any given time.

What is an ARN Number?

ARN number or Acquirer Reference Number is a series of 11-digit unique numbers that are generated through the mode of credit or debit card transactions. It is created at a time when the flow of the transaction takes place from the merchant's bank account to the customer's bank through the payment gateway.

So an ARN helps to make transactions easily traceable in case of occurrence of any error on the part of the bank or a merchant. For example, banks can use ARN numbers to trace missing refunds. Using this unique code, all the useful information about the transaction may be generated.  

The ARN number is always shared with both banks and merchants.

Acquirer References Number (ARN): The Key Uses

The ARN numbers generated during debit or credit card help trace refund transactions on purchasing products online.

It also provides information that helps to detect the points of errors and tracing of unauthorised transactions. Moreover, ARN helps merchants follow through with the transaction process safely and securely without interrupting fraudulent payment activities during online transactions. 

Below are some of the events when the ARN number becomes significantly useful.

  • Transactions using credit card payments
  • Transactions using debit card payments
  • Transfer of funds
  • Partial settlements
  • Electronic funds

ARN — Tracing Refund Transactions

One significant aspect that will help businesses sustain in the market is when they can provide their customers with a reliable and smooth flow of purchasing and payment mechanisms online. Then, how does the feature of ARN assigned to the debit or credit card transactions help?

To provide customers with enhanced buying experiences, businesses need to ensure that customers must get a fair deal as they get when making purchases offline. For instance, if they purchase any goods online and it turns out that the goods bought don't match their preferences, they get the option of an exchange policy or, at the most, a refund guarantee. But suppose the same benefit of such exchange and refund transactions happens online. In that case, there are chances of the conduct of fraudulent activities and errors during the process of such transactions.  

Most importantly, if the customer wants a refund for such purchases made online through debit or credit cards, they might also want to track and know the status of a refund process until the payment has been made to their bank account. This is where the ARN, a unique reference code, comes into play.

More often than not, processing transactions might take quite some time to receive the payment back into the bank account on the debit or credit card you initially used to make the payment for online purchases. If you desperately want to know the exact time of receipt of such a refund, an ARN number helps you with that.

Also, with ARN, banks can trace the delayed or missing refunds. That is, your ARN can be used if you want assurance of refunds being transferred to your credit or debit cards or if any error in terms of missing refunds has occurred.

Usually, both banks and merchants have access to ARN numbers to enforce direct track of refund payment transactions. With this, you might either ask for the ARN number to trace the transaction all by yourself or ask a merchant to provide the transaction status information.

Thus, ARN acts as a great reliable tool that serves customers with a guaranteed sense of protection and security while making any transactions online. 

Also read: What is the Difference Between Auditing and Accounting? - Learn Auditing and Accounting

Finding an ARN Number

If you need an ARN code, you can get it from the bank, website, or an app where you made your online purchases. The merchants may contact the bank for an ARN or find it on their dashboard associated with a transaction if they use processors for payment purposes.

The ARN on the dashboard related to the transaction will show the status of the refund process in one of the following three ways: 

  • ARN is Not Available – This status is displayed in the case when the refund process has already taken place, even before the bank processes the initial charge. The payment processor then reverses the authorisation and drops the charge. Hence, ARN's status shows as unavailable on the dashboard.
  • ARN is Processing – It is the default status of the refund transaction process and is usually indicative that the refund process has started and is yet to finish. 
  • ARN is Available – In this type of status, ARN appears within the refund.

Once the ARN code is located and found through the payment processor, the merchant should update you about the refund process, or they may share it with you.

Additionally, you will need to ensure that you provide the bank and the merchant with the following information:

  • Order Number
  • Method of Payment
  • Date of Refund
  • Amount of Refund

ARN: Its Features and Use

Until now, we know that the ARN number created generally gives a sense of security and confirmation about the refund transaction status to merchants and customers involved in certain online sales and purchases.

With the help of an ARN number being assigned to each credit or debit card transaction, one can quickly receive and track the refund process. While the merchants may either use it to track such refunds, update the customer about the same or may even share it directly with the customers.

Below are some of the features of an ARN code:

  • ARN is an aid for customers in the form of any transaction proof. They can use it to trace the refund process status for online purchases.
  • ARN number is assigned and available for online transactions using Visa or Mastercard.
  • ARNs can aid in the tracking of illegal transactions and prevent any such fraudulent payment activities.
  • With the ARN code, merchants can directly update their customers about the refund to their cards or simply provide them with ARN for tracing the same with their banks.
  • Merchants can access these ARNs through their payment dashboards using payment processors.
  • An ARN number is used to track down refund transactions with a clear idea of the expectation of such refund back to the customer's bank account.

This is how an ARN, the unique 11-digit code, contributes significantly to the security when online purchase transactions occur.

Also read: What is Fair Value Accounting? Fair Value Meaning, Calculation & Advantages

Conclusion

To conclude, the Acquirer Reference Number, also known as ARN, is a unique strength of digits and letters that identify a credit card transaction. It is created by the banks or payment processors of the merchants and is required by the card associations, Visa, and MasterCard for compliance reasons. Furthermore, it is generated by the merchant's bank after the transaction is authorised and submitted for posting. The ARN might be used to trace transactions and find related information. This is accomplished by looking for the transaction information in the payment processors of the merchant using the ARN.

To learn more about business tips, follow Khatabook for the latest updates, news blogs, and articles related to micro, small and medium businesses (MSMEs), business tips, income tax, GST, salary, and Accounting.

FAQs

Q: What do I do with the Acquirer Reference Number?

Ans:

In case your refund transaction goes missing, your bank can use it to track all the possible information about such transactions.

Q: What is the key difference between an ARN number and a transaction ID?

Ans:

An ARN is an Acquirer Reference Number that is created during credit card transactions from the merchant's banks to the cardholder's bank. The transaction ID is a unique identification code developed during electronic funds transfer.

Q: How to track fund transfers with an ARN number?

Ans:

The ARN is created when the credit card transaction goes from the merchant's bank to the cardholder's bank. If you want to be able to track the transfer of your fund, you will need to share this ARN with your bank. Provided by which the bank shall trace the refund transaction.

Q: How many digits is an ARN number?

Ans:

An ARN number is generated as an 11-digit number that both bank and the merchant can use to identify any particular transaction status.

Q: What is an Acquirer ID?

Ans:

Acquirer ID is also known as Acquirer Reference Number or ARN, which is assigned to credit or debit card transactions from a merchant's bank to the customer's bank.

Disclaimer :
The information, product and services provided on this website are provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis without any warranty or representation, express or implied. Khatabook Blogs are meant purely for educational discussion of financial products and services. Khatabook does not make a guarantee that the service will meet your requirements, or that it will be uninterrupted, timely and secure, and that errors, if any, will be corrected. The material and information contained herein is for general information purposes only. Consult a professional before relying on the information to make any legal, financial or business decisions. Use this information strictly at your own risk. Khatabook will not be liable for any false, inaccurate or incomplete information present on the website. Although every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this website is updated, relevant and accurate, Khatabook makes no guarantees about the completeness, reliability, accuracy, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, product, services or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Khatabook will not be liable for the website being temporarily unavailable, due to any technical issues or otherwise, beyond its control and for any loss or damage suffered as a result of the use of or access to, or inability to use or access to this website whatsoever.
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Disclaimer :
The information, product and services provided on this website are provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis without any warranty or representation, express or implied. Khatabook Blogs are meant purely for educational discussion of financial products and services. Khatabook does not make a guarantee that the service will meet your requirements, or that it will be uninterrupted, timely and secure, and that errors, if any, will be corrected. The material and information contained herein is for general information purposes only. Consult a professional before relying on the information to make any legal, financial or business decisions. Use this information strictly at your own risk. Khatabook will not be liable for any false, inaccurate or incomplete information present on the website. Although every effort is made to ensure that the information contained in this website is updated, relevant and accurate, Khatabook makes no guarantees about the completeness, reliability, accuracy, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, product, services or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Khatabook will not be liable for the website being temporarily unavailable, due to any technical issues or otherwise, beyond its control and for any loss or damage suffered as a result of the use of or access to, or inability to use or access to this website whatsoever.